FHA Loans – Great Options for First-Time Home Buyers

new beginnings

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, an FHA loan may be the right loan for you. 

An FHA loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration and protects lenders from financial risk. Lenders have to meet certain criteria for their loans to be termed “FHA-approved,” after which the FHA backs the loans the lender issues in case a borrower defaults on the mortgage. Borrowers must also meet requirements to qualify for one of these loans.

Why are FHA loans good options for first-time homebuyers? Because other home loan programs generally have higher credit score and down payment requirements, FHA loans are a great option for first-time homebuyers who have not had as much time to save for a large down payment or meet the credit score requirements.

Of course, are some other considerations to make before jumping in. 

Additional fees as well as private mortgage insurance add to the cost of the mortgage, and you may have a higher interest rate.

If you are ready to consider an FHA loan to help you make your first move, contact Universal Lending today to get started down the path of homeownership. We’ll discuss all of your home loan options with you so you find the right loan for you. 

 

Consider it Sold – To You! Get Your Offer Accepted on Your Dream Home.

Family with Sold Home

It’s been a long, hard journey. But you’ve made it. You have found your dream home. However, your dream home is the dream home of a lot of other people, too. Offering asking price isn’t  enough – Your offer needs to stand out from the crowd. Let us help you with a few ways to get your offer accepted so you can move into your new home.

1. Get a Performance Guarantee with Universal Lending. Our Performance Guarantee is a conditional loan commitment that guarantees your earnest money up to $10,000. Essentially, you’re putting in an offer that has already gone through underwriting. Other homebuyers may offer a pre-approval letter, but a Performance Guarantee is the next best thing to a cash offer.

2. If you don’t have a Performance Guarantee, submit your pre-approval letter with your offer. Other buyers will have this. so going in without a pre-approval letter will put you at a disadvantage.

3. Work with a real estate agent. You may think “you’ve got this,” but an agent who is familiar with the neighborhood you are buying in, knows how to help buyers stand out in a seller’s market, and who is a genuine champion of buyers will be ready to get you into your home.

4. Have your lender go the extra mile. Can your lender vouch for your ability to close this loan? Your agent can reach out to your lender and ask for a video or testimonial about your offer and ability to pay. A Universal Lending loan officer sent a video testimonial to her borrower’s agent, who sent it to the sellers, and it was the ticket to an accepted offer. Encourage your team be creative!

5. Offer a fast close. Make your offer stand out by offering a shorter closing date. Universal Lending prides itself on the ability to do quick, clean closings – another reason we stand out.

6. Offer above the asking price. Now is not the time to low ball. Check comps in the neighborhood to see what a strong offer was on the homes that have sold most recently.

7. Make a good, clean offer. If you’re trying to sell a property, making the purchase of this home contingent on selling another home may not work in a seller’s market. It’s also going to be difficult to ask for additional concessions such as help with closing costs.

8. In fact, you may want to offer to pay the seller’s portion of closing costs.

9. Don’t ask for extras to be thrown in. Lawn furniture? A grill that’s not staying with the house? A painting that you “must have.” Asking for extras may be just the thing that moves you down the list of accepted offers.

10. Put down a larger down payment than is expected. Putting more down on the house shows that you are serious about making this purchase.

11. Include an escalation clause in your offer. An escalation clause means that your offer will outbid other offers up to a maximum price. This means that you make an offer saying you will pay X price for a home, but if a higher offer is received, you will increase your offer to Y price.

12. Offer one month of free occupancy. When purchasing a home with a mortgage, your payment doesn’t come due until a month after you close. A seller could very well need that time to figure out where they are going and offering to pay their “rent” for a month could strengthen your offer.

Don’t lose your dream home. Be prepared when the time comes to make an offer and make your offer stand out.

Tips for Making Moving Less Stressful: The Art of Packing

happy female couple celebrating in new home

Moving is stressful, whether you are going across the country or across town. We want to help make moving a little bit easier by providing you with some helpful tips on a few things you can do to make your move easier and less stressful.

Make packing an art and a science! Here are some quick tips for ways to make packing a little easier.

Use strong boxes and secure them tightly. Your dishes and valuables deserve extra care, so use special boxes for kitchen, wardrobe and other special things. Avoid using boxes that have had food shipped in them.

If you still have your original boxes and packaging from your audio and visual equipment, repack those items snuggly in those boxes.

Put heavy items, like books, in smaller boxes to keep boxes from getting to difficult to carry.

Label all of your boxes! Include what is in each box and what room it goes into.

Do you have kids? Set aside some of their favorite items for moving day so you aren’t looking for these things and your kids have something to keep them from getting bored.

Consider making a Home Inventory Checklist.
This is an especially good idea if someone is packing and moving for you, or if it’s time for you to review your homeowners insurance policy or regroup on what you have. Your checklist should include all of your belongings and:

What the item is
Its estimated value
Its condition
What room it is in, in your home

Click here for more information on how to create a home moving checklist. 

Why Working with a Local Lender Beats Working with a Big Bank

Searching for real estate property, house or new home

Anyone who has gotten a home loan will tell you it’s not always an easy process. But if you ask a borrower who shopped for a home loan at a big bank and a borrower who shopped for a loan at a local lender, you’ll hear distinctly different stories. And the ending is almost always the same:

Working with a local lender is a more positive experience for homebuyers.

We focus on customer service.
Reputation is the cornerstone of a thriving business, and we rely on referrals rather than flashy advertisement. Unlike many big banks, we do not have other sources of revenue, like credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.

Issues that arise can be more easily resolved because we have streamlined our operations. We hire only the best and most professional loan support team, and our operations are centrally located. With our support staff in one place and not spread across time zones, it’s easy to contact someone whenever you have a question or concern, and decision making is quicker and more thoughtful.

We have faster turn times for loans.
Because our systems and teams are centrally located, our borrowers often see faster loan processing, faster underwriting, and ultimately, faster closings.

We do one thing – mortgage loans – so we must do them well.

You have a main point of contact who’s accountable for your experience and your transaction.
At Universal Lending, each loan and each borrower is personal to us. We answer your calls, even outside of normal business hours, and get answers right away. Big banks often don’t take this personally, and most don’t answer their phones after 5 p.m. or on weekends.

We are not beholden to shareholders.
We keep our focus on our customers at all times, because we don’t have to answer to anyone else.

You are trusting your savings and your financial future to the loan officer with whom you work.
Our lenders are subject to strict licensing standards. Loan Officers at many big banks are not required to meet the same high standards. You want to work with someone you can put your faith in to handle your home loan intelligently and ethically.

You are helping to support a community business and jobs in your area.
Dollars spent in your community help to support the community – keeping other businesses and local nonprofits strong.

These are just a few of the reasons local is better. Stop by or give us a call. We are confident that you’ll see for yourself why working with a local lender makes sense, and you’ll be glad you worked with Universal Lending.